Stefano and Sarah Barberies, a couple in their 40s from a small town in the Lombardy region, sold their home to finance a one-year trip.
During the voyage, the duo aim to cross the Atlantic Ocean, explore the Caribbean, or perhaps even further afield.
The duo will accompany their three children, Lago (11 years old), Tina (8 years old), and Timo (3 years old).
They will also be accompanied by their pet dog, Pepper.
The 17-meter-long boat will be the home of this family, and it is called “shibumi,” meaning “high-end beauty” in Japanese.
The duo said they will accompany the children because the trip will provide life experiences and educational opportunities that cannot be missed.
“Of course we are very scared,” Sarah Barberis told CNN. Then she added, “This is crazy, but we were supposed to sail in June, and we waited for the situation to improve. We sold our house earlier this year before the virus outbreak. We cannot wait for the next year. By that time, we will have spent all the money we collected from the sale. ”
The family will leave at the end of September from La Spezia in Liguria, northwestern Italy, to go first to the Spanish Balearic Islands, then to Gibraltar and the Atlantic Ocean.
With the rapid development of the Coronavirus crisis, Sarah stated that the family is ready to change their plans and adapt on the road when needed.
A different life
The duo insist that the drive for this ambitious journey comes from a desire to try a different lifestyle, and let their children explore it as well.
Sarah, a fashion designer, said: “We are happy now, but we are very curious to try a different kind of life … away from the daily routine and the rhythm of schools.”
The duo spent months preparing and redesigning their dhow into a comfortable pontoon.
This family is no stranger to the sea, as the children grew up sailing around the Mediterranean, in difficult circumstances.
The time they spent in the Mediterranean also encouraged them to start their adventure, after the family witnessed how climate change and urban sprawl affected places near their country.
The duo hope to have their children participate in research as part of their homeschooling in the boat to highlight environmental concerns.
Stefano’s background as a nuclear physicist would help in the science side.
And the boat embraces a “floating laboratory” to collect data on energy and water consumption, and pollution through microplastics, in addition to an observatory to watch dolphins and whales.
The videos and data that will be collected will be shared with various online platforms, and with students from several Italian schools.
The family’s adventure has sparked some controversy in Italy, and some have criticized the family for the decision to take their children on a trip that could be risky.
Sarah said, “We were described as being selfish, but, I would have felt selfish if I sailed alone with my husband, leaving our children and not letting them experience this unique opportunity.”
Sarah also indicated that the boat is full of emergency first aid kits, antibiotics, and everything they may need, as well as the technology they need to seek help if something happens.
“Enjoy every moment”
Italian sailing expert who has crossed the Atlantic several times, Maurizo Martini, said there is a strong possibility the family will enjoy a smooth ride with the good weather this year.
The two do not worry about what will come next after completing the trip and returning to Italy without a place to stay, as they prefer to focus on the present moment and enjoy it without worrying.
“Our real dream is to sail to Polynesia one day, and stay at sea for a year or two. But dreams are not free. Now, let’s take every step by step and enjoy every moment of this upcoming trip,” Sarah said.
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